This lentil and kale soup has been our lunch for the past week. We don’t do any major food-related resolutions in January, but we do tend to circle back to a few vegetarian meals each week. The soup is brothy, so feels light, but full of hearty lentils and vegetables, so it really sticks to the ribs.
The secret to building a flavourful vegetarian soup is starting with a generous glug of oil (the fat is what actually carries the flavour) and seasoning at every step, not just the end. Salt the lentil water as you would for pasta. It’s not true that they won’t soften, they do, and without salt from the start, lentils will always taste bland. Salt the onions and vegetables as they’re sautéing. Then, finally, salt the broth.
I’m cooking for littles so I’ve made it with and without harissa (a North African spice paste). I love the harissa flavour and kick of heat, but it’s a delicious soup without it.
We have been busy these first two weeks of 2018 with home-hunting (to rent or buy, we aren’t sure) and school-hunting. We are down to the wire for registering our Theo for kindergarten, and it is a unique kind of stress to make major financial and lifestyle decisions under the gun. But it’s happening. Things are moving. Wish us luck.
I’ve been trying to slow down a bit. Last year was a really great one but the pace was a bit break-neck.
I think it’s especially important to take time for reflection when you’re on the precipice of major life decisions. We’ve been exploring different suburbs with natural beauty high on our priority list. It’s amazing how just standing next to the big, wide ocean or nestled amongst hundred-foot trees can instantly change the tone and strength of your internal voice. I think I’ve finally reached a time in my life when I’m ready for more of that. Less city hustle, more forest and water.
In addition to slowing down, my goals for this year include more planning, more reading, more prioritizing, more creativity. How about you?
These photos are iPhone snaps from a walk in the woods in a neighbourhood we’re considering. Pretty unbelievably beautiful, this Pacific Northwest. As stressful as it is to make decisions, I feel very fortunate to have these decisions to make.
Hearty Lentil & Kale Soup
- 1 1/2 cups dry brown lentils
- kosher salt
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion finely chopped
- 1 large stalks celery finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp harissa paste optional
- 2 litres unsalted broth chicken or vegetable
- 2 cups chopped kale (or other greens)
- 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
- Bring a pot of salted water (at least 5 cups water) to a boil and add lentils. Simmer until lentils are very tender, 30-40 minutes (depending on how old they are).
- While the lentils are cooking, heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat and add the onion, celery, carrots, and a generous pinch of salt. Cook vegetables until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and harissa (if using) and cook a minute more, then add the chicken broth and 1 tbsp salt. Bring to a boil. When lentils are tender, add them to the soup and simmer 10 minutes. Add kale and cook until tender, about 3 minutes, then add parsley and more salt as needed.